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Reviving the Iran nuclear deal will test Joe Biden

Reviving the Iran nuclear deal will test Joe Biden, Tehran says the ball is in America’s court, but Washington first wants compliance,, DAVID GARDNER, 27 Jan 21, 
US president Joe Biden’s incoming foreign policy team, full of veterans from the Barack Obama administrations, will have no illusions about how tricky it will be to refloat the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran that was torpedoed by Donald Trump in 2018. They know from direct experience how canny Iranian negotiators are — and how antagonistic relations have become with the Islamic Republic.  ………

Both sides, moreover, are adopting a “you first” approach. Iran says the ball is in America’s court since the Trump administration unilaterally tore up a deal Tehran was then fulfilling. The Biden team says Iran must first resume compliance with the 2015 accord (it raised uranium enrichment above agreed levels of volume and purity, albeit one year after Washington’s withdrawal). …..
For the mullahs and militiamen who ultimately run Iran’s tyrannical theocracy, the 2015 deal was a threat and a swindle. Watching how Iranians warmly embraced it as a path back to the modern world, they saw a slippery slope to regime change. When the US reneged on its commitment to readmit Iran to world markets, the Islamist reactionaries in Tehran were able to force pragmatists led by President Hassan Rouhani to retreat.
 When reformists led by then-president Mohammad Khatami offered the US a “grand bargain” in 2003, George W Bush as US president placed Iran on the “axis of evil” alongside Iraq and North Korea. For hardliners, and many Iranians, Mr Trump was therefore merely being true to form. America and Iran have haunted each other for generations. ……….
 The US, therefore, might once again be tempted to overplay its hand. Mr Biden’s negotiators will know from the run-up to 2015 that talks only really began once Washington took regime change off the table. But if they do that now they will demand measurable assurances on Iran’s regional behaviour. That is not so very distinct in Tehran’s eyes from the Trumpian (and Israeli and Saudi) demand it axes its ballistic missile programme and wraps up the militia networks through which it has built a Shia axis of power from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean and down into the Gulf.
That is, right now, a non-starter. Especially as Israel steps up its air strikes and sabotage against Iranian targets and assets across the region. The US policy of “maximum pressure” has met maximum pushback.
The US, and other guarantors of the nuclear compact, should walk it back towards 2015. But regional detente requires a new security architecture, including all the actors. This needs to be built from the ground up, and reinforced by a broad international diplomatic coalition that underwrites it. The US has lost trust among allies as well as adversaries. It cannot attempt this alone.

January 28, 2021 - Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA

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